Chicago Gas Prices Spike Within Hours

Experts say an extra 20 cents could be tacked on by the weekend

By Lauren Petty
|  Thursday, Feb 23, 2012  |  Updated 11:31 AM CDT
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Chicago Gas Prices Spike Within Hours

In the past day, gas prices jumped by nine cents in Illinois, and experts say an extra 20 cents could be tacked on by the weekend. The reason? According to GasBuddy.com, a big refinery fire in Washington state.

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Get ready for more pain at the pump.

Gas prices spiked within hours Thursday in Illinois, and the surge isn't done yet.

In the past day, prices jumped by nine cents in the Chicago area from Wednesday to Thursday, and experts say an extra 20 cents could be tacked on by the weekend. It makes up for the area's brief dip in prices following the annual switch by refineries from winter-blend to summer-blend gas. 

“That’s ridiculous. That’s ridiculous,” said Mark Barnes of Chicago. Barnes was getting gas Thursday morning at the Mobil station at the corner of Fullerton and Seminary in Lincoln Park, where the price for regular unleaded was $4.11 per gallon.

The price is well above the Chicago average of $3.75 and the national average of $3.57. It's also about 30 cents higher than prices last year.

And Illinois residents aren't alone. Gas prices spiked 12 cents in Indiana and 6 cents in Wisconsin.

“It’s not good. It costs me about $60 to fill up," said driver Jeff Makarewicz. "You gotta have it though."

The cause of the significant spike? According to GasBuddy.com, a big refinery fire in Washington is mostly responsible. The BP Cherry Point refinery is out of service because of the damage, and the longer it's closed, the higher prices could go.

"[Price hikes] will likely continue across more states through the weekend," said senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan.

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